NatChat April 2017


April 2017 edition of the quarterly newsletter from Chester NCT, NatChat.

Your quarterly newsletter for



* Editor’s Letter *

Happy Easter!

And while we’re on the subject of fertility, I

want to say a few words about birth... (Slick!)

Birth in the modern day is as varied and complex

as we are. Short of a planned C-Section,

very few people get the birth they had hoped

for and that can feel disappointing.

Birth can be beautiful and empowering,

long and exhausting, and anywhere in between.

In an increasingly medicalised process,

we are overwhelmingly in need of positive,

open attitudes.

It might not have been perfect, you might

not have been able to have the water birth you

wanted, or maybe you ended up having interventions,

but it is yours and your baby’s and it

is unique.

I encourage you all to embrace and take

ownership your births. Tell your story. Find

the joy and uniqueness in it.

Be proud of yourself.



* In This Edition *

Page 6—Welcome to the Team

Page 10—Let’s Introduce...

Page 14—Nearly New Sale

Page 15—Bumps and Babies

Page 16—Baby First Aid

Page 18—Feature Story

Page 26—Crafty Crafts

Page 27—Family Dinner Recipe

Page 31—Birth Story

Page 34—Craft Events

Page 37—Get In Touch



* Welcome to the Team *

Jen Whittle – Mum to a toddler and very

excited to be joint branch co-ordinator with

Ffion Dempster-Jones.

Ffion Dempster-Jones – Mum of 2 year old

girl and looking forward to being joint branch

co-ordinator with Jen Whittle

Liza Ebeck – Works part time as a veterinary

nurse, adjudicates between her two daughters

age 6 and 2, and enjoys reading the 2 pages of

her book before falling asleep. She is also our

First Aid Coordinator.

Antonia Jones – Antonia is excited to be starting

the Lone Patent Group and hopes to find &

provide support to Lone Parent Families.

Lisa Palfreman – A face most of you will

know already! Kiwi mum to two cheeky

tearaways and professional chatterbox is now

taking up PSC Link role and concentrating on

her new Uni course done with the NCT.


Vicky Brand – Mum to a lovely two year old

and recently started my own business for

toddlers. NCT were a great support to me in

the early days and I look forward to helping

keep the branch active.

Charlotte Curtis – Lucky Mum of three

energetic rascals taking on the joint

membership coordinator role.

Daniela Ida ZANDONÀ – Mom, of Italian

and Spanish origin, to little Clara. Recently

moved to the UK and fallen in love with

Chester. I enjoy reading and watching a good

series but I've discovered sleeping is more

valuable! I look forward to volunteering.

Heather Colville – Studying hard and mum to a

toddler. Excited to be volunteering with NCT.

Lynne O'Neill – Ex-London accountant, now a

New to Chester mum taking on the Treasurer


Lucy McClean – Slightly hippy mum to an

18 month old preemie. In addition to the

newsletter editor role, I also co-host bumps

and babies, bake for the cake stands and

generate fun ideas to try!


* The Regional Team *

Hi, I'm Helen.

I'm the newsletter reader for the North West NCT Regional

Team. I have 3 kids, two daughters in high school and a son at

primary school. I've volunteered locally for NCT since

moving to Cheshire in 2004. I was Branch Coordinator of

Mid-Cheshire branch for 7 years before moving to the

regional team.

The regional team consists of Cath Auty - Regional

Coordinator, Nikki Leech and Helen Barrance - Area Links,

Kate Hodgkiss - Regional Fundraising Support and Helen

Lilley - Newsletter Reader.

The regional team work with branches to support them and

celebrate their successes. The team are the people who liaise

between branches and UK Office. We try to help branches

resolve any issues they have, and the newsletter reader

proofreads all the newsletters from all over the North West.

All of us have volunteered at Branch level, so we understand

the issues branches can face. We also have UKO staff support

from our Regional Teams Facilitator, Catherine Bartlett.



Contact Rachel to join the fun in our multi-award

winning, friendly classes - now in their tenth year in

Chester and Wirral.

Call Rachel Nightingale on 01244 372970 or visit 9

* Let’s Introduce... *

Liza Ebeck!

Give us a bit of background

on yourself.

I am a 38 year old mum of

two living in Chester with my

partner. I work as a veterinary

nurse part time whilst I hold

the rest of my world together

full time.

What drew you to the NCT

in the first place?

The NCT was recommended

to me as a good place for

antenatal classes when I was

expecting my first baby. I

booked on the course and

have been involved in some

way ever since!

What made you decide to

become a volunteer?

I got more heavily

involved with the NCT

as a volunteer when I

attended a Nearly New

Sale. I love a good

bargain and like to

pass on things to

others as well so the

Nearly New Sale is an

amazing way to do this


What has been your

experience of


My volunteering

experience has been,

all-in-all, a great one. I


have made some fab new

friends (not coming from the

area, I didn’t have long

standing friends around me)

and I really enjoy the events

and meetings, to chat and

bring ideas about where the

branch is going and how we

can improve it.

What would you say to

someone thinking of


Anyone thinking of

volunteering should just go

for it and get in touch!

Everyone is welcome, the

more the merrier. You can do

as much or as little as you like

and make friends doing it!

What is the one thing you

want people to know about

the NCT?

One thing for people to know

about the NCT is that it

exists! So many people seem

to never know we are here

and that we're just itching to

help families adjust to the

amazing journey of having




Story Tots

Story Tots is an

exciting baby and

toddler class using

books, bubbles and

lots and lots of music!

Tuesdays and Thursdays

at The Cheshire Cat:

Toddlers @ 10am

Babies @11am

£6 a session pay as

you go or £32 for a

block of 6 sessions

Book a FREE taster session now:



* Nearly New Sale Success *

We are so pleased to say that

our last Nearly New Sale on

the 25th March 2017 was a

very successful one! How

successful? Well…

We had:

· 30% more buyers;

· A 30% increase in sales


· 33% more sellers.

We are so pleased with the

result of all the hard work of

our NNS team over the past

two months!

We are now looking at a little

break from Nearly New Sales

over the summer (I know, I’m

sad, too) and the next one will

pop up around October.

Keep up to the minute

on Facebook and of course on

this humble newsletter!

Thank you, everyone

who volunteered with us,

for your time, support

and commitment. You

have helped make this

sale the success that it



* Bumps and Babies Success *

NCT Chester has had a slow

few years but our incredibly

successful bumps and babies

group has been churning out

friends, support and unity.

I went to my first

Bumps and Babies

group when my son

was just 7 weeks

old and before his

due date had even


I was shy. I sat in

the corner, at a single

table with him

asleep in a sling

and didn’t make

eye contact.

‘Come sit with

us.’ I can’t remember

who said it but

it was welcoming.

They asked questions,


themselves, had a

laugh. I was instantly

at home.

We still regularly

meet up with four

of the mums and

babies I met there

and we bump into

ten or so others at

groups and meets

and play dates.

It has really given

us the confidence

to go to new things

knowing someone

else will be there.

And knowing

Edgar will grow up

with such a lovely

group of friends is

a real weight off.

And it’s not just my experience that has been

amazing. Groups of mums and dads meet regularly

with their two and three year olds, all now too old for

bumps and babies but still getting together and

supporting each other.

We are proud to be the start of some amazing

friendships and happy, confident parents.


In Partnership

* Baby First Aid *

Baby first aid is run by the Red

Cross and coordinated by the lovely

Liza Ebeck. Classes are on a first

come first served basis and respond

to demand so you should never have

to wait long for a class.

These classes are brilliant

because, if you’ve ever looked

into first aid courses you’ll still

be sweating from it. First aid

training is expensive. And nobody

should have to shell out

£100 plus to gain lifesaving


Our deal with the Red Cross

means you pay £25 a head,

£45 for a couple, or £10 a head

for low income families. It’s a

priceless investment because

we’ve all had those panic

moments where you’re thinking

those first aid skills you

got back in school are pretty

useless on a baby right now.

So if you’ve been frantically

nodding while reading this, or

even if you’re just mildly

interested, it’s worth giving

some thought.

For more information, or to

sign up for a class, e-mail Liza


and breathe easy.

What You Will


· How to respond

to bangs and


· CPR to save a

choking baby

or child

· The child and

baby recovery


· Advice on

dealing with




* Dealing with Obstetric Cholestasis *

By Jen Whittle

The Beginning

In November 2014, I was

counting down the final

weeks of my pregnancy,

wishing Christmas would be

over so that my due date at

the end of January would finally

be here! The pram had

arrived, the nursery redecorated,

and we had just

attended our first NCT antenatal


I had a pretty average

low risk first time pregnancy,

and we were just excited to

welcome our new baby into

the world.

I have suffered with

eczema on and off for

years, so initially

thought nothing of

the itching on my

arms and tummy. I

hadn't heard of Obstetric

Cholestasis (or

intrahepatic cholestasis

of pregnancy –

ICP as it is now more

commonly known) at

this point. The itching

worsened over a

couple of days, and

when it spread to my hands

too, I had a vague recollection

that itchy hands or feet were

something to mention to the


I called on my lunchbreak

(after a quick consultation

with Dr Google!) and

was a bit surprised that my

midwife wanted to see me

straight away. I left work telling

them that I would be back

later that afternoon – I didn't

realise at that point that it

would be my last working day

until 2016!



The Diagnosis

I was lucky enough to have a

wonderful and very reassuring

midwife, who took my bloods

and explained a little about

cholestasis, the condition it

was she suspected I may have.

If, like me back then,

you haven't heard of ICP, it is

a potentially serious liver disorder

in which bile acids build

up in the blood, causing the

itching, and possible harm to

your baby. It affects around 1

in 140 pregnant women in the


Although I was reassured

that ICP is quite uncommon

and I may well just have

bog standard pregnancy itching,

I was beginning to feel a

bit concerned. On measuring

my bump a little on the small

side, I was advised that a trip

to the hospital for monitoring

would be advisable

to check on baby

and give me some


I actually ended up

taking my own

blood sample with

me to the hospital

so it would be tested

more quickly!

My blood tests confirmed

the suspicion that I

was suffering with ICP, and

after a few unconnected concerns

about baby's heart from

the monitoring, I was admitted

for my first ever hospital

stay. It was definitely an interesting

phone call to work to

explain where I was!

I had extra monitoring

and scans of both baby and

my liver, and started treatment

in the form of tablets to

hopefully improve my liver

function. Luckily the treatment

started to work and I

managed to get myself discharged

in time to get to my

second antenatal class.

Preparing for Birth

My diagnosis meant that my

previously straightforward

pregnancy was now seen as


high risk and I would be consultant

led for the rest of my


Weekly blood tests

and monitoring were needed

to keep an eye on the condition

and I was also told that I

would most likely need to

have an early induction at 37

or 38 weeks. Needless to say I

now had to start planning for

a kind of birth I really hadn't

been expecting to have.

Lynne, my NCT antenatal

teacher was great, and

spent an extra part of our session

talking more about induction

generally and really

helped me feel more comfortable

about it and about the

decisions I may want to make

regarding my care before the


My midwife was incredible

too - and very honest

about what I should expect

from an early induction.

I won't lie, in many

ways, the last few weeks of

my pregnancy were a bit

scary. The worry that my

body could be harming my

unborn baby was really upsetting,

and the constant blood

tests left my arms with

painful bruises. I even

spent Boxing Day

2014 in Wrexham

Hospital having my

weekly checks.

I was admitted for my

induction at 38 weeks,

and although my birth

experience is unlikely

to be the first choice

of most pregnant

women, I can honestly

say that I had a really

positive delivery,

mainly due to the excellent

advice and care

I had received beforehand

and then during

my labour.


The Birth

Despite being admitted on

Friday at 6am, we wouldn't

actually start active labour

until Monday!

As I had been warned,

an early induction of a first

pregnancy can be a bit slow to

get going, so most of my Saturday

and Sunday was spent

waiting for something to happen.

As it also coincided with

an incredibly busy weekend

for deliveries, I was finally

taken to have my waters broken

on Monday morning.

As luck would have it,

my midwife for delivery was

one of my community midwife

team who I had already

met, and she was so calm and

reassuring that despite a frustrating

weekend (and thinking

I may have to have a C-

section after all) I finally felt

that I could do this.

Waters broken and

drip in were followed by a pre

-planned and incredibly effective

epidural. The contractions

from the drip increased in intensity

so rapidly, I'm really

glad I had been warned to ask

for an epidural early. I wasn't

expecting it to be quite so effective

though – I had to be

turned in bed as my legs were

so heavy, whereas most women

are still able to move

around pretty normally!

I spent most of my day

watching bad TV and napping

(yes really!), and watching

my other half demolish the

carefully packed bag of


snacks that I wasn't allowed to

eat. It was a bizarrely calm

day after the stresses of the

previous few weeks, and baby

had constant monitoring

which for me was really reassuring.

After a long day of

waiting we had a pretty quick

second stage, and welcomed

our son, Zachary, into the

world just before 10.30pm.

At 6lb 6 and a half ounces he

was healthy and bigger than I

had been warned to expect

too, which was a nice surprise.

Our beautiful son is

now a very happy (and very

active!) 2 year old, whose

main loves in life are trains,

slides and eating!

After the Birth

We spent a few days in hospital

after he was born as he

was a little jaundiced, as

many newborn babies are, and

we had some difficulty getting

feeding established.

The postnatal support I

received both on the ward and

from my community midwife

team was amazing, and I can

definitely say that without

their help and encouragement

our breastfeeding journey

would have ended a lot sooner

than the 14months we eventually

got to.



I now know that it is so important during pregnancy to be

aware of the symptoms that can be indicators of something

more serious. Not everyone with ICP experiences the itching

on their hands and feet, but just more generalised itching. If in

doubt, it is always best to get it checked out, just for reassurance.

As I have had ICP once, there is a 70% chance I would

suffer in any future pregnancies, too. I would definitely feel

much more confident about dealing with the condition again

as I would know much more of what to expect.

My pregnancy and birth didn’t turn out exactly the

way I had hoped and planned, but let's face it, who's


For more Information about Obstetric Cholestasis



NCT is here to support parents. We give them accurate,

impartial information so that they can decide what’s best

for their family, and we introduce them to a network of local

parents to gain practical and emotional support. We are

the UK’s largest parenting charity, and campaign as the

voice for parents on the issues they care about.

What Does NCT Mean

To Me?

NCT has been enormously

important to

me since becoming

a mum, especially

as I had few friends

in my local area, let

alone ones with

small kids!

-Jo, Facebook



is golden

NCT was/is a valuable

resource for

my husband and I

to meet new parents

that were

about to begin the

journey of childbirth


-Morgan, Facebook

For just £48 a year you

can become part of NCT

members club where you

can save and get

discounts on eating out,

going to the cinema and

cashback on groceries,

gardening supplies and

fashion spends as well as

a tonne of other benefits

within NCT.

In turn, your money

allows us to invest in

events, services and

support for not only you

but others, too.

Keep Calm and Join NCT!




* Crafty Crafts *

Do The Dough Dough Dance


· 1 Cup Plain Flour

· 1 Cup Salt

· 1 Cup Water

· 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

· 1/2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar

(for elasticity)

· Food Colouring

(plain coloured is also fine, or

you can add glitter!)


1. Mix dry ingredients together.

2. Mix the food colouring into the


3. Tip everything into a saucepan,

stir together and heat on high

for a few minutes.

4. When the dough is formed and

clumping together turn it onto a

counter and knead for a minute.

5. Play!

Once made, your

playdough should

keep well for a

month or so in an

airtight container.


* Family Dinner Recipe *

Yogurt Pizza Time!


· 250g Yogurt

(I think full-fat greek yogurt is

best but they all work fine)

· 250g Self Raising Flour

(I have used rye flour and gluten

free flour, too)

· Tomato Puree

· Cheese

· Toppings of Choice

· More Flour (for rolling)


1. Mix the yogurt and flour

together, turn onto a floured

surface and roll out flat (don’t

worry about the shape!)

2. Layer with tomato puree and

cheese then top with any

ingredients you like. (we like

pepperoni, onion and spinach)

3. Cook on the top shelf at

180/200 degrees for 10-15

minutes. (Keep an eye on it!)

I promise you this pizza dough tastes like pizza, feels like

pizza, smells like pizza and it costs less than 50p to make.

Seriously good value and a solid favourite in our household!




* Birth Story *

By Naomi Leadbetter

The Beginning

Established Labour

I had pretty terrible

morning sickness

throughout my pregnancy

and labour was no

different. I went into

hospital after my waters

broke with my head in a

plastic bowl!

The midwives

hooked me straight up to

anti-emetics and then

examined me. I was

already 4cm so I was

taken straight to a labour


I was put onto a

monitor and told that

baby's heart rate was

dipping with every

contraction. They asked if

they could put a monitor

onto the top of baby's

head. This ruled out a

water birth for me but I

knew it was for the best.

I coped with gas and air

for the first couple of

hours then the pain

became more intense so I

was given some


Both baby and I

had been monitored

closely for the 5 hours I

had been in and I was

dilating reasonably

quickly. However, as I

got to 10cm baby's heart

rate dipped and didn't

come back up.

The emergency

buttons were pressed and

a whole team poured into

my room. They checked

and rechecked baby's

heart rate, moved me into

different positions and

consulted with lots of

different people.

After much

discussion I was taken for


an emergency caesarean

section and my husband

was whisked away to

change into scrubs.

While all the

necessary preparations

when taking place I

began to feel the need to

push. I was re-examined

and baby's head was

crowning so the decision

was made to give me an

episiotomy and use

ventouse to help baby


After Birth

My beautiful daughter

Florence, was born. She

was handed straight to

me. We had delayed cord

clamping as requested

and then I was sewn up

quickly by one of the


My husband and I

then got to enjoy lots of

wonderful, peaceful skin

to skin time with her.

After a while the

lead midwife came into to

us and talk through all the

decisions that had been

made and to make sure

we understood the need

for intervention.

She also gave us

the opportunity to ask any



Although my daughter’s

birth was not what I had

on my birth plan and it

was more stressful than I

had hoped, I felt very

well looked after. At every

step we were talked to.

We had wonderful

care from a great many

people and were given

the chance to talk it

though after the fact so

we understood everything.

I cannot thank the

Countess of Chester staff

enough for how we were

all looked after.


* Breastfeeding Friendly *

* Chester *

What is Breastfeeding

Friendly Chester?

The Breastfeeding Friendly

Chester Scheme was launched

in 2011 by a group of friends

who wanted to promote

Chester as a breastfeeding

friendly city - by pinpointing

cafes, restaurants and shops

where breastfeeding mums

would be welcomed by highlighting

what facilities are

available. The scheme is endorsed

by NCT who provide

support to the volunteers and

fund the stickers for businesses

to display. If you see a

sticker then you know that the

business has signed up to the

scheme and have educated

their staff about how to make

a breastfeeding mum feel


We are part of a

network of breastfeeding

support available for mums in

the area, including the Bosom

Buddy Breastfeeding Support

Chester and Ellesmere Port

Facebook page (run by peer

supporters) and breastfeeding

groups facilitated by the

midwifery and health visiting

service. You will also see

Bosom Buddy peer supporters

on both the hospital wards

and at breastfeeding support

groups in the community.

Why Do We Need It?

It can be quite daunting

breastfeeding in public,

especially for the first

time. We wanted to provide a

resource for mums so they

could feel more confident,

knowing that there was somewhere

breastfeeding friendly

that they could take a 'pit

stop' (without necessarily

having to buy anything!). I

have known several mums

who have resorted to breastfeeding

in a toilet which isn't

pleasant for mum or baby.

After all, would you eat your

lunch in the toilet?!

Our guide also

includes a list of facilities

available for bottle feeding

mums and baby changing



What is the Law on Public


The Equality Act 2010 says

that it is discrimination to

treat a women unfavourably

because she is breastfeeding.

There is no age restriction,

the law protects you for as

long as you wish to feed

your baby. You are protected

in shops, public

places such as parks,

sports facilities, public

buildings and when using

public transport.

You are also protected

in restaurants, cafes,

hotels, hospitals, theatres,

cinemas and petrol


What Are Breastfeeding

Friendly Chester Doing


After a bit of a hiatus over the

last year, a new group of

mums (there's 8 of us, all on

maternity leave) have volunteered

to help reinvigorate the

scheme. Laura Evans

(Community Infant Feeding

Coordinator for Cheshire and

Wirral Partnership NHS

Foundation Trust) is also

working on the scheme.

Over the last couple of

months we have been

refreshing our information -

visiting current members and

approaching potential new

ones. We welcome businesses

to contact us if they would

like to sign up to the Breastfeeding

Friendly Chester

scheme. We are planning

some exciting competitions

and giveaways on our Facebook

page and will highlight

businesses who 'go the extra






* Easter Craft Day *

Our Easter craft day on the 1st April was fantastic! The Eggs

and baskets that everyone decorated were fun and creative,

the little kids enjoyed playing in our toy area. Mums and dads

enjoyed a brew and everyone enjoyed the cake!

The venue, Vicar’s Cross Scout Hut, was a lovely big, clean

space to play, craft and chat.

Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered to help make

the day a special one, and thank you everyone who came and

decorated an object!


* Summer Solstice Craft *

We invite you to join us for a day of sunshine, paint, glitter

and summer spirit!

A choice of window hangings to decorate, tea, coffee, juice

and a little cake stand. With the usual play area for the very

little ones and colouring for the bigger ones.

Look out for updates on our Facebook page Chester NCT.

Summer Sun and Lots of Fun!



* Get In Touch! *

· Are you interested in writing for NCT Chester


· Do you want to share your birth announcement,

personal journey or breastfeeding journey?

· Do you want to make people aware of a particular

issue or health concern in pregnancy or children

up to two years old?

· Do you have thoughts or comments on todays

parenting issues and would like to share it?

· Are you are a specialist and have insight into an

aspect of pregnancy, birth or early parenting?

· Do you want to advertise your amazing new baby

or toddler classes?

· Do you want to offer a discount on new parent

essentials to readers of Chester NCT Newsletter?

We would love to hear from you!


* Contacts *

General Enquiries:


Newsletter Editor:

First Aid:

Nearly New Sale:


Twitter Tag: @ChesterNCT

NCT Helpline: 0300 330 0700

Our branch is run by volunteers. We are mostly parents with

young children working from home which means we are not

always available. Please allow a few days for us to respond to


* Disclaimer *

The information in this newsletter is for the benefit of NCT (National

Childbirth Trust) members and beneficiaries. It may be used only in connection

with NCT activities and may not be used for any commercial purposes.

The views and opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily

those of NCT. The information contained in this newsletter should

not be reproduced without the editor's consent in writing. The appearance

of an advertisement in this newsletter does not imply endorsement of the

company or its products by NCT, nor does it constitute a recommendation.

However, it is always worth mentioning when replying to an advertisement

that you saw it in an NCT newsletter. NCT cannot be held liable for

loss, damage or injury arising out of goods sold through any advertisements

in this newsletter. Any discount offered to NCT members by any

advertisement is done so entirely at the discretion of the advertiser.

Registered Charity number (England and Wales) 801395; SC041592 (Scotland).


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